Sunday, March 30, 2008


I've been doing a fair amount of work over the last few days, but probably not as much as I should. Right now I'm working on the above quilt. The jacks fabric is the front and the stripes are the back. It's stitched in rows of loops, but of course it's not done yet. I'll take better photos when it's finished. I also did a little embroidery, but haven't gotten far on that. The banner will say "I ♡ Napoleon."

I got my city business license last week, and filled out forms for my county and state licenses and my tax id. Also talked to James about my website, so work is starting on that. It seems every time I sit down to do some actual quilting, though, I have to get right back up again. Either I don't have the right color thread or I need interfacing or something like that. Pretty frustrating, but eventually it'll all be sorted out.

There was a lot of cooking over the last few days, too. I made olive oil cookies from a recipe on Mark Bittman's NY Times blog Bitten. I made the sugar cookie variation, sans rosemary because I didn't have it on hand. They were really delicious and everyone at Michael's potluck seemed to like them. They come out quite small (not a whole lot of spreading during baking) so they're sort of bite-sized and awesome. Evan and I also made steak with caramelized shallots and mustard for the potluck. It's a recipe I think I got from Martha Stewart Living a few years ago and never made. Very easy and pretty inexpensive.

Devon was in town this weekend, so bars were out, but we had an impromptu party at our place Friday night. It was a lot of fun despite some less-than-stellar dramatic moments. However, thanks to Mark and beer, crisis was averted. In the morning I made breakfast for the itinerate drinkers who ended up staying the night and then settled into a deep and fulfilling laziness. I plan to extend that laziness until 6 o'clock tonight at which time I will gorge on delicious food at Taj India and probably go into a food coma.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Oatmeal by Noon

Having eaten oatmeal for breakfast, I thought it appropriate to tell you about Maggie's amazing photo project site She and her friends Ashley and Maura each post one picture every day (I think the whole week's worth are uploaded every Sunday. Please correct me if I'm wrong). It's been around for a while, so there's lots of good stuff to flip through.

Also, I have Maggie to thank for some of the awesomeness going on in the library. I feel sort of sorry for the rest of the rooms in our new house because the library, being the coolest, gets all of the attention. But, I mean, look at it! How could we not love it the most? Anyway, Maggie sent me the print over the mantle for Christmas with the disclaimer, "You might hate it." Not only do I not hate it, but holy god! Look how freaking perfectly it matches the fireplace! It's the exact colors of the tile. Plus, you can't see it here, but the walls are painted that exact shade of mustard from the fireplace and the print. It's rather serendipitous.

This morning I'm going to city hall to deal with business licenses. Before I run off on my errands, though, I have to mention "the game" (suggestions for a better name welcome). It was invented during our first few nights in Birmingham, during which time a lot of wonderful forms of entertainment were conceived. This one, however, is the most hilarious to watch. One player performs a series of ridiculous movements and their opponant has to replicate it. One loses by failing to adequately recreate the sequence (routine?) or by falling (the latter of which is a real problem for Devon). If your Catchphrase runs out of batteries, I highly suggest you try this out. Let the hijinx begin.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Dishpan Hands

The worst part about baking a lot is that not all your dishes can go in the dishwasher. Fortunately, having awesome baked goods around makes up for it. I tried a cinnamon raisin variation of the no-knead bread recipe yesterday. It came out pretty well, but the raisins on the top were singed and I think it's a little heavy. I usually make my no-knead bread using 1 1/2 C all-purpose, unbleached flour and the same of whole wheat flour. By the time I stopped to think that combo might not be appropriate for this recipe it was too late. I think I'll use at least 2/3 all-purpose next time.

One of the things that's proving awesome about Birmingham is that our friends just stop by pretty much whenever. And sometimes, apparently, they make pies. One of the two sour cream apple pies from last night is still in the kitchen, but the first one disappeared pretty quickly.

Anyway, I've gotten a lot done in the last couple of days. The car situation is sorted out. I bought and assembled my cutting table, so my studio is coming together. We got some much-needed furniture from thrift stores, and I framed some things for the walls. Today I've got to do some last bits of house-related stuff, including making curtains for the front door. As it stands, everyone in the neighborhood can see us playing weird spastic games in the foyer. They probably think we're a bizarre cult. I would.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Murder Mystery

"Every time you dream about the secret room, the secret room dreams about you twice."

It's shameful to be quoting myself, but I think this is a good lead-in to the subject of this post. My sister told me this morning that she dreamt we had all hidden from her in the secret room behind the bookshelves. This isn't really a story, but the moral of it is this: we live in a really weird house.

Several years ago Rodney and I found a game at the thrift store called How to Host a Murder. The contents were too boring or too complicated for us to decipher, but the idea is right: a bunch of people come over for fancy dinner (see fishsticks, mashed potatoes) and one of them is killed. It is up to the brave survivors and their mysterious butler, Tim Curry, to find the killer before he/she finds them.

Save the date: Springtime sometime. Murder at the Rowe School.

This isn't really a story, but the moral of it is this.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

School Breakfast

I finally got to go grocery shopping. I'm not sure I got a full list of ingredients for any one thing except crepes, which I made for breakfast this morning. Ever since I learned to make them, they've been one of my favorite breakfasts. Crepes, sausage, and Perrier were my hangover cure in college. I don't make them as often anymore, but they're still my favorite sweet breakfast. The recipe I use for sweet crepes is:

1/2 C all-purpose flour (I use half wheat, half white, but it makes them a little heavier. Adding a little more milk helps, but it's never quite the same)
1/2 C milk (soymilk works, too)
1/4 C luke warm water
2 large eggs
2 Tbl spoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 Tbl spoons sugar
pinch of salt

After mixing the ingredients together it's best to let them sit for half an hour, but if you absolutely can't wait, it's not the end of the world...I think it just comes out a little lumpy.

Unfortunately I had to eat my crepes while on the phone in the kitchen instead of with everyone else. I've been dealing with auto insurance all morning. I hope, for your sakes, that you never have to move from a place where you don't have a car to one where you need a car immediately, because it is really not convenient.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Arrival

We made it, finally. I mean, we made it a couple of days ago, but I've been too exhausted to post anything. The drive went fine, except for one minor missing-our-exit and one tornado-hit-Atlanta-related spot of bad weather. Evan drove the whole way because my license had expired. I feel both very appreciative and very guilty about this.

Friends (thank you, btw, if you're reading) came over to help us unload/unpack/put things in order. I didn't even have to set up the stereo, which last time I moved almost resulted in me throwing a receiver out of the window. Rodney even took me to Target where I spent an exorbitant amount of money and still didn't get everything we needed.

Yesterday was spent getting my Alabama license and shopping for a car. I forgot how awful it is. We ended up almost buying a car that was too expensive out of sheer exhaustion. Elix drove us around aaaaaaallllll day, which must have been truly awful. Helping someone else shop for a car is not my idea of a good time. But she bore it well, and for that I am grateful.

This morning I made my first batch of soymilk with my new SoyaJoy machine. I bet you thought I was kidding about the soymilk/tofu thing, didn't you? Well, see for yourself; I kid not. I got those bottles at Ikea just for this purpose, and the effect is pretty adorable, I think. If only my days could be spent making soymilk, but I have a lot of errands to run. None of them will be possible, of course, without a car, so that's the first order of business. Hopefully I can knock it out this morning and get on with the show.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tags and Boxes

I finally did some practical research yesterday. I looked at wholesale sources for batting, printers for hang tags, and label manufacturers. It's so involved. Of course I've been thinking about all of this already, so I've got a pretty good idea of my direction, but the options are infinite.

I contacted a local letterpress about doing my hang tags. I like the idea of working locally when I can, and I think the tags will give the quilts a nice feel. Plus putting the design of that sort of thing in someone else's hands will be great. The pieces on their website are beautifully designed and printed, so I feel confident that I'll love the end result.

I have all sorts of other business-related things to do–paperwork to file, bank accounts to open, etc. But there's so much moving-related stuff, too. I need to pack up Evan's room today and mine tomorrow, and I'm pretty sure we don't even have enough boxes. But the all the plans are made from car loans to internet installation appointments. Two more days!!!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

9 days till spring term

It's nine days until we arrive in Birmingham and even though that's all I think about, I can't really imagine how it's going to be. Instead I'm picturing some sort of twisted Jo's Boys scenario where I bake bread, make fresh tofu, grow our vegetables, and quilt all day long.

To that end I have been tirelessly researching soymilk machines, no-knead bread, and raised bed gardening. Our pots and pans have arrived–so has the silverplate flatware I ebayed so when we have dinner parties (?!) we don't run out of forks. I've scanned and rescanned craigslist, ikea, overstock, etc. for every manner of houseware, down to the bin in which I plan to store our 50 lbs of soybeans.

I also made a trip to The City Quilter to pick up some fabric. I suppose I'll give myself a few days to set up the house (and studio!!) and then start making some sample quilts. The first task is to figure out how long, working my fastest, it will take to make one (or five, or whatever). And when my days of quilting are over, we'll sit around drinking tea and reading Scientific American or listening to a This American Life podcast. Probably someone will play the fiddle.